Creative leadership and mangement in international schools

This paper is intends to find the link between creativity and leadership and how this notion can be applied to leaders/principals of International Schools. For the same reason the traits which must be possessed by the leaders of International schools have been discussed.

As we proceed in this paper the reader will appreciate that there are some creativity traits which are a very important part of leadership and should be considered if any where the Principals of International schools are to be trained and these trait needs to be demonstrated by them to become effective in achieving their goals (Bleedorn 1986). In the past, except a few not many researchers have delved in the thought of combining these concepts of creativity and leadership (Norris, 1990). A creative leader analysis the current situation identifies the loopholes and then thinks out of the box to bring out a change which permanently solved the problems.    As the world becomes a global village and environment becomes competitive, only innovative and creative ideas standout to make their mark among the rest. As Tannebaum, Weschler, & Massarik (1961) put it, the word leadership means more than “an interpersonal influence, exercised in situations and directed through the communication process, toward the attainment of specific goal or goals”, similarly emphasized by Katz and Kahn (1966) as leadership is something beyond “any act of influences on a matter of organizational relevance”.

Thus it can be concluded that effective Principals should orient their respective schools by showing the creativity traits of showing their passion for work, leading by innovative examples, independence, goal setting and making sure they are achievable and eventually achieved, originality, flexibility to listen to their subordinates or other staff members (even students for creative ideas), wide range of interests to have a flow of ideas from different angles, intelligence and motivation. (MacKinnon 1962)

The areas which will be explored and are deemed as major traits for a creative leader in international school are:

  1. Passion for Work: Hard work is the key factor. Principals of international schools should perceive themselves frequently as exhibiting the trait. It can be surmised that effective principals should be committed to working very hard, since they are frequently committed to things they believe in and are persistent in completing a task. Persistence in completing a task can be described as a passion because the effective principal frequently refuses to put an idea aside until it is satisfactorily resolved. The effective principal should talk earnestly about the importance of work, which suggests responsibility is not just the organizational goal but also consists of the leader’s direction for the organization. Responsibility is the expression of what the principal wants for the organization. Effective leaders should be strong champions of the mission of the organization and pursue their responsibility to the organization with energy and passion. They are undeviatingly committed to hard work.
  2. Independence: The effective principals of international schools should perceive themselves as sometimes independent in thought and action. This suggests that the effective leader is employee-centered. The effective principal, however, should take action to find solutions to problems sometimes preferring to find solutions to problems using a non-conforming method. Using non-conformity to solve a problem indicates an individual and independent style to finding solutions to problems and listens to constructive criticism; however, she would rather think things through independently and take singular action to solve problems.
  • Goal Setting: The effective principals of international schools should perceive themselves sometimes exhibiting the trait. They should be concerned about what others might say about their efforts indicating that effective principals should have a clear vision about their purposes.
  1. Originality: The effective principals of international schools should perceive themselves as frequently exhibiting the trait, showing a special drive to be original, and preferring to try unique solutions to problems (Barron 1955). The effective principals should be satisfied only with original solutions that encourage new and different ways to get things done. They should frequently seek out people who come up with new ways to get things done. This self description of “frequently” relying on originality to solve a problem suggests the effective principal utilizes the unconventional solutions to problems (Amabile 1979).
  2. Flexibility: This trait is particularly required in finding answers to a problem to determine the best solution. Flexibility in problem solving generates a range of ideas suggesting variety rather than quantity. Thus, the effective principal should frequently have categories of solutions from which she could select the best one. Playing with ideas, and fooling around with a range of notions, generates unique solutions. With a variety of problem-solving ideas from which to choose to solve a problem, the effective principal should be more adaptable to change.
  3. Wide Range of Interests: Speculating on ways to solve problems, considering alternative solutions before deciding alternatives are not acceptable, and finding as many solutions as possible to problems are all characteristic of using a wide range of interests to solve a problem.
  • Intelligence: As in the previous trait, principals should perceive themselves exhibiting the trait frequently. Playing with ideas allows the best solution to emerge and then critically analyzing the solution suggests intellectual work (Barron & Harrington 1981).
  • Motivation: Effective principals should perceive themselves as exhibiting this trait frequently, accompanied by high levels of self-confidence, especially when considering the most likely reaction to a novel solution to a problem. The reactions of others to a novel tack are, of course, often negative. No principal who lacks confidence would produce a novel solution. Effective principals should express their opinions strongly and push themselves and others toward the realization of the leader’s views.

Effective principals should frequently enjoy their success (MacKinnon 1960) Success for any effective leader is defined as taking charge of one’s actions, and by those actions to motivate others to do something that has not been done before. Taking action may even assist accomplishing goals that have never been well defined. The creative leaders should also be frequently enthusiastic about their ideas. By setting an example of enthusiasm for ideas (Shouksmith 1970) the creative leaders, who maybe part of any organization, may alter the behavior of others, thereby motivating them. Thus the strategic function of principals of International Schools, then, is to enhance motivation and performance in the faculty.


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Barron, F., & Harrington, D. M. (1981). Creativity, intelligence, and personality. Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439-476.

Bleedorn, B. (1986). Creativity: number one leadership talent for global futures. The Journal of Creative Behavior. 20(4), 276-279.

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MacKinnon, D. W. (1960). The highly effective individual. Teachers College Record, 61, 367-378.

MacKinnon, D. W. (1962). The personality correlates of creativity. A study of American architects. In G. S. Nielson (Ed.), Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Psychology (pp. 11-39). Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

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